Loudspeaker ID checks introduced for police in Staffordshire after Sarah Everard murder

Staffordshire Police is launching a loudspeaker officer verification system as part of efforts to reassure residents in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder.

Police officers patrol near floral tributes for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common
Police officers patrol near floral tributes for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common

The move follows the jailing of former Met officer Wayne Couzens, who kidnapped the 33-year-old marketing executive in a fake arrest in a London street before raping and killing her in March last year.

The force said it is introducing the measure due to public concern.

With immediate effect, officers working alone will carry out a verification check via Staffordshire Police’s control room for anyone who appears to be concerned for their safety.

Members of the public can also request the check.

It will consist of officers putting their personal radio on loudspeaker to allow the control room to confirm that the officer is who they say they are, that they are on duty and the reason the officer is speaking to the member of the public.

In the rare situation where an off-duty officer has to become involved in an incident, the officer will call 999 and allow the member of the public to speak to the control room on the phone.

Uniformed colleagues will also be dispatched as quickly as possible.

Sarah Everard was aged 33

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Jennie Mattinson explained: “The appalling circumstances of Sarah Everard’s murder have understandably generated concerns from members of the public about verifying the identify of police officers.

“The onus is on us, as a police force, to reassure the public of our commitment to, and ability in, keeping people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent safe.

“Our officers will not always be in uniform, but it would be extremely unusual for an officer to make an arrest whilst working alone. If they are, they should be calling for assistance with other officers arriving very soon to support them to help you if you are in need.

“By offering this additional verification check through our control room, we hope to be able to provide immediate reassurance to anyone who might be concerned if they find themselves being approached by a lone police officer.”

Couzens, 48, was arrested at his Kent home after detectives connected him to a hire car he used to abduct Ms Everard, whose remains were found on March 10.

He went on to plead guilty to Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder and was sacked from the force in July.

He has been jailed for life for his actions which have shocked and outraged the nation.

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